Annual Demographic Estimates: Subprovincial Areas

Detailed information for July 1, 2023





Record number:


This estimates program provides estimates of population by age and gender for census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, economic regions, and census subdivisions.

Data release - May 22, 2024


This estimates program provides estimates of population by age and gender for census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, economic regions, and census subdivisions.

This estimates program is used in the calculation of demographic, social and economic indicators (fertility rates, mortality rates, nuptiality rates, divorce rates, school enrolment rates, etc.) in which the population, or a part thereof, serves as the denominator. These data are used in calculation of weights for use in Statistics Canada's surveys (Labour Force Survey, General Social Survey, etc.). In addition, the data helps in the preparation of population projections by Statistics Canada, where estimates of population by age and gender are used as the base population.

Reference period: July 1st to June 30th


  • Population and demography
  • Population estimates and projections

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The population universe covered by the Demographic Estimates Program is like the population universe of the census. The following groups of persons are included:

- Canadian citizens (by birth or by naturalization), landed immigrants (permanent residents), and (since 1991) non-permanent residents. Non-permanent residents are persons who have claimed refugee status [asylum claimants], or persons who hold a work or study permit and their family members living with them. All such persons are included in the population provided they have a usual place of residence in Canada.

- The total population also includes certain Canadian citizens and landed immigrants (permanent residents) living outside the country: government employees working outside Canada; embassy staff posted to other countries; members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed outside Canada; and Canadian crew members of merchant vessels and their families. Together, they are referred to as 'persons living outside Canada'.

- Foreign residents are excluded from census data: for example, residents of another country visiting Canada temporarily, government representatives of another country posted in Canada and members of the armed forces of another country stationed in Canada.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Description of the Component Method - The postcensal population of census divisions (CDs), census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs) and economics regions (ERs) are produced using data from the most recent census adjusted for census net undercoverage (CNU) (including the adjustment for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements (IERS)) and adjusted to July 1st (record number 3901). Population estimates - preliminary, updated, and final - are produced by the component method. This method consists in taking the population figures from the most recent census, adjusted for CNU (including IEIR), and adding or subtracting the number of births, deaths, and components of international and internal (interprovincial and intraprovincial) migration. For example, to estimate the population as of July 1 of a non-census year, demographic events experienced by each cohort (defined here as the total number of persons born during the same census year) since the previous census must be considered. For each component, the sum of the subprovincial areas in each province or territory conforms to the corresponding provincial/territorial totals, and so the population estimates during these components are also consistent with the provincial population estimates.

A different method is used to produce population estimates for census subdivisions (CSDs). Postcensal estimates are based on the latest census counts adjusted for census net undercoverage (including adjustment for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements) and on the estimated population growth that occurred since that census, as calculated using fiscal data.

Data integration is conducted by combining data from multiple sources, including the latest census, census coverage studies (Reverse Record Check survey (RRC)) and from administrative data such as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For further information, please refer to: Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada, Centre for Demography, Catalogue No. 91-528-XIE.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


No imputation was done.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Measure of the precocity error

The quality of preliminary estimates of components is evaluated using precocity errors. Precocity error is defined as the difference between preliminary and final estimate of a particular component in terms of its relative proportion of the total population for the relevant geographical area. It can be calculated for both population and component estimates. The precocity error measures the impact of the trade-off of accuracy in favour of timeliness on the estimated population.

Analysis of precocity errors allows for useful comparisons between components, as well as between geographical areas of different population size. Note that when compared to the total population for an area, the differences between preliminary and final estimates of the components are quite small. However, this type of error has a different impact on each component and geographical area.

Generally speaking, for subprovincial estimates, net interprovincial and subprovincial migration yields the greatest precocity errors. This is likely the result of the use of different data sources for preliminary and final estimates. In most years and for most provinces and territories, births, deaths, and immigration estimates yielded the smallest precocity errors. For immigration estimates, this reflects the completeness of the data source and the availability of data for the timelier preliminary estimates. In the case of births and deaths, small precocity errors can be explained by the use of short-term projections for preliminary estimates.

According to the analysis of the most recent precocity errors and assuming that the quality of the basic data remains constant, the present postcensal estimates should have an acceptable degree of reliability.

Measure of the error of closure

The error of closure measures the exactness of the final postcensal estimates. It is defined as the difference between the final postcensal population estimates on Census Day and the enumerated population of the most recent census adjusted for census net undercoverage (CNU). A positive error of closure means that the postcensal population estimates have overestimated the population.

The error of closure comes from two sources: errors primarily due to sampling when measuring census coverage and errors related to the components of population growth over the intercensal period. For each five-year intercensal period, the error of closure can only be calculated following the release of census data and estimates of the CNU.

By dividing the error of closure by the census population adjusted for CNU the differences are relatively small at the national level (0.2% for 2001, 0.1% for 2006, 0.5% for 2011, 0.3% for2016, and -0.1% for 2021). At the provincial and territorial level, as at the subprovincial level differences are understandably larger, since the estimates are also affected by errors in estimating interprovincial and subprovincial migration.

For more detailed information on the quality evaluation of the demographic estimates, see Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada, Centre for Demography, Catalogue No. 91-528-XIE.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Non-final postcensal data are revised once a year. After each census, postcensal estimates are revised to produce the intercensal estimates.

Data accuracy

The estimates of population by age and gender contain certain inaccuracies stemming from: 1) errors in corrections for the census net undercoverage; 2) imperfections in other data sources; 3) the methods used to estimate the components. Errors due to estimation methodologies and data sources other than censuses are difficult to quantify, but not insignificant. The more detailed the breakdown of the data, the larger the inaccuracy coefficient becomes. The component totals contain a certain amount of initial error, and the methodology used to classify them by gender and age produces additional error in the figures at each stage. Nevertheless, the components can be divided into two categories according to the quality of their data sources: births, deaths, immigration, and non-permanent residents, for which the sources of final data may be considered very good; emigrants, returning emigrants as well as interprovincial and intraprovincial migration for which the methods used may be a more substantial source of error. Lastly, the size of the error due to component estimation may vary by region, gender, and age and errors in some components (births and emigration) may have a greater impact on a given age group or gender. Intercensal estimates contain the same types of errors as postcensal estimates, as well as errors resulting from the way in which the errors present at the end of the period were distributed, that is, based on the time elapsed since the reference census.


  • Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada
    The Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada guide provides detailed descriptions of the data sources and methods used by Statistics Canada to estimate population. They comprise postcensal and intercensal population estimates; base population; births and deaths; immigration; emigration; non-permanent residents; interprovincial migration; subprovincial estimates of population; population estimates by age, sex and marital status; and census family estimates.

    Last review: November 17, 2015
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